By Laura Mason
You only have to Google the questions surrounding hiring a car abroad with children to get a myriad of answers. Advice from experts, parents, service providers etc can leave parents feeling really concerned and confused about the best choice to make when debating the pros and cons of hiring a car abroad.
Travelling abroad with children
I have to admit, it’s not something we have done in over five years. Initially I would tell you I took the easy route relying on public transport, shuttles and taxis for ferrying my family and I around, but in hindsight, each time I haven’t found it that easy – waiting on someone else’s schedule was nothing short of soul destroying…especially when as we all know, children only work to their own schedule and then there’s the concern with the need for child seats/boosters which has caused a whole new level of anxiety.
Hertz car hire
So….on a recent trip to Florida we heavily debated hiring a car and despite organising the trip months ahead, only made the decision and booked the car a week before.
Again, the choice of opting for a well-known international car rental brand vs. an unknown cheaper option filled us with confusion. We decided to go with Hertz, a name we knew at a price we felt comfortable with – not ripped off and not super cheap but fair price for what we hoped would be a fair service.
The process upfront ordering online was super easy as you select options to match your requirements and budget. The ranges of family vehicles were plentiful, and while they don’t guarantee the exact make and model, the approximate sizing was enough guidance for us to choose something suitable.
Arriving at Orlando International Airport, we made our way to an empty Hertz desk (probably the only place I didn’t queue throughout the whole break!) to be welcomed by the chirpiest attendant that seemed to be expecting us and had all the paperwork lined up and ready to go. Literally within five minutes of going through terms and conditions, signing paperwork and paying off the balance, we made our way to the car park to pick up our key and car seat.
Hertz car seats
One of my largest concerns was car seats. We had chosen to take booster chairs for our eldest two but for our toddler were at the mercy of Hertz and I am so particular! You hear horror stories of battered and bruised chairs that are dirty, and god forbid, have previously been in accidents, but the age appropriate car seat we were given was in fantastic condition.
Making our way to the vehicle, an attendant offered to swap our vehicle for a slightly higher spec one as it had just become available, so jumping at the chance we started loading in our luggage and fitting the car seat. As no strangers to car seats, we strapped in the Group 1 chair with belt contraption and just to make sure, we even asked one of the Hertz staff to check it over which they made no fuss about and gave us the thumbs up.
Over the course of a week, our holiday car became our lifeline in a way we didn’t expect. While our hotel offered everything we needed, having the flexibility and choice to go where we wanted when we wanted proved invaluable and provided an experience that was instrumental in making it such a great holiday with varied experiences. Cheap fuel costs in the US, compared to the UK, made the overall idea really cost effective for us compared to taxis.
Universal Lowes Sapphire Falls hire desk
The even bigger benefit was that our hotel, Universal Lowes Sapphire Falls, similar to many in and around the Orlando area, had a Hertz rental desk on site so if we had any issues we didn’t even need to pick up the phone and could walk straight to the lobby for help. This actually worked in our favour as we decided to keep the car until we were ready to move on and as such left the car at our hotel, instead of needing to return to the airport, which saved another hassle we would have otherwise had.
I’d like to have commented more upon the service, and touch points we had with Hertz but what stands out more from our experience is that we just didn’t have the need for any further interaction. The pre-booking online and easy drop off meant we spent more of our holiday actually holidaying and enjoying the benefits of having a car, rather than stressing about the niggly bits.
A week’s car hire from Orlando Airport costs from £181, based on travel in May 2018. Book online at www.hertz.co.uk
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is an award winning free loyalty programme, making the car rental experience easier, faster and more rewarding. Sign-up to enjoy member discounts, no queuing and free additional drivers.
The Hertz Road Trip Planner is a customisable online resource that brings together 24 bespoke routes across three different regions of the US. Providing recommendations for iconic and off-the-beaten track routes; offering downloadable maps, insider’s guides to the best pit stops including the States’ biggest landmarks, most notable historical and cultural locations as well as must-see hidden gems.